NaNoWriMo, the Amateur Bot-ann-ist, and the PNW Coast

A few years back I made an attempt (or two) at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but this year, with things in my life being much different, I plan to reach my goal. It will not be a garden novel, but it will be digging deeper into my past, into my heart and soul really, back to where it all began.
It all started when I was a nature writer and reader. That’s where I’m returning to, and oddly enough, it’s where garden literature sprouted from as well—so I think it’s quite fitting.
I’m prepared to finish too, and that’s a decent way to begin.
There is also a fat carrot being dangled in front of my nose thanks to a dear old friend who knew me back at the beginning too, and she wants me to be the person I need to be again.
We compromise so much of ourselves sometimes, especially when illness takes over and truly prevents us from being able to function. I was struck down before I’d even started but I have time now to change the rules a bit.
Maurice the Cat last night performing his nightly viewing of a “cat friendly video” while I sat there wondering how to get my arm away from him without his noticing.
My poor little laptop will make it through just so long as Maurice doesn’t insist too often on “participating” with me. He really does not seem to understand why I can’t keep typing while he snoozes on my arm.
He also seems to think that the cushion in my chair belongs to him but he’s learning quickly that it does not.
I have been a writer. I have been a gardener. It’s time now for me to be much more serious about being both and I plan to make that happen too. I have to since I don’t know what else to do.
Obviously, he enjoys having me there to lean on as he watches the same video for what feels like to me to be the 129th time.
Blogging will continue as usual and I’ll begin working on more plant stuff in the house.
I will also be dashing off to the Coast a few times during the month of November to get some writing done. (I was there for several days this past weekend outlining the story and it was wonderful to get away.)
The area will be included in the novel since it means so much to me and because Astoria is my favorite city in Oregon—other than Portland, of course!
Astoria is there on the right. Those tiny little white spots in the distance.

Last month (on September 29th) I drove out to the area so that I could participate in the annual bridge walk/run at the mouth of the Columbia. With 2,999 other people I made the trek and it really deepened my sense for the place. The night I arrived there was a full moon and I dashed around taking photos I shared with friends on Facebook—many of whom miss home and live in other places now for various reasons.

I made it to the south jetty and watched the sunset too before heading back to get some rest before the big walk.

The next day I walked and walked.

Entering Astoria on foot from the Washington side was truly an amazing experience. As I walked along, passing people here and there, it was clear from the stories I overheard how much they all love where they live.

Watching salmon fishermen as they waved to all of us from their boats in the river, they would stop to take pictures of us, and we’d all wave back at them.

Looking back over the bridge I was happy to see all the way to the other side where I usually stay at my parent’s other house. Yes, I like Washington State too.

Me, last weekend in the backyard of my parent’s coastal house. I’d spent hours watching the birds flying up and down behind the house, along the river, so I went down to see the salmon remains they were all feasting upon. It’s always one of those magical moments in nature to see their white bones glowing along the riverbanks. Made me think of salmon fertilizer too and how much I love to use it in my garden.
I may have lost a lot this year, but that walk was an accomplishment that won’t be taken away from me anytime soon. It was accomplishing a goal I’d long wanted to do but had been physically unable to do so.
So now comes a novel, and during the month of December I can celebrate the 1st Anniversary of being well after having been prescribed the special medication that’s helped me so much. Then I have my Blogoversary too. (Check out the countdown up in the right-hand corner.)
I think this is a nice way for a plant nerd to spend her autumn and winter, don’t you? (Oh, just wait until I get to the surprise during the heart of winter. That should be fun for all of us.)

Oh, and if you’re wondering if there will be any plants, the answer is, “Yes.” Just don’t tell all of my friends because I know that SOME of them will writhe and groan a little bit. We cannot all have green thumbs and hearts.

The Garden as Character


In just a few days National Novel Writing Month will begin. My effort last year never bore any fruit, so I am trying again. As someone who is 36 and is facing some serious chronic illness issues, this is something I would like to get out of my system after all of these years. Realizing that the static of rare disease is what came between myself and this dream was the first hurdle. Completing it on time will be the next. 50,000 words in a month is a lot of writing! I only ever wanted to be a writer, ever since the beginning of my being, and I want my nieces to know that even though it has been many years, I am not going to be a woman who gives up. What bothers me is that it is always such an emotional experience, one that draws a lot of energy out of me. I don’t know why that is, but I think for many writers the act is similar to that of exercising a demon.

This is a topic here on my blog because I want to use a garden as a character of sorts. I would like to know your thoughts about garden literature in general too in order to help my thought process a bit. Typically I like to write fictional memoirs, but I think that it is safe to say that I enjoy literary fiction and that’s the genre I will be in for the month of November.
My favorite novel involving a garden was called A Man of Character by the Italian auther Paola Capriolo. If you have not read it, you should pick a copy of it up.
I am late for brunch with my cousin, and I will return to this post tonight after work. So in the meantime, what do you think of garden literature? What do you like?
PS: For those who read garden books regularly, my birthday just happens to be the same as Beverley Nichols. That gives me some comfort for some unknown reason.
If you would like to participate in this absolutely crazy activity, here is a link to the Web site. You don’t have to be in the US at all to participate. If you sign up, let me know. We can share stuff in a group.